Project Startblok in Atrium City Hall

During the Movies that Matter Festival 2022, Project Startblok can be visited in the Atrium City Hall in The Hague. A multimedial exhibition by photographer Karijn Kakebeeke and the Picture Bridge Foundation about the lives of Nahom, Leila, Isabella, Samer and Timo, five residents of Startblok Riekerhaven, Amsterdam.

In this former sports park, the Dutch housing corporation De Key, in collaboration with the municipality of Amsterdam, offers accommodation to 565 youngsters since July 1st 2016. They are all aged 18-27. Half of the residents are Dutch students or recent graduates, the other half are refugees with an asylum status – mostly from Eritrea and Syria. The groups are mixed in alternate lodgings, they manage the complex themselves and have signed a manifest whereby they commit to the mission of: ‘Building a future together’. But how does that work out in practice?

What is it like to live together with people whose background and history are very different from your own? What do you encounter or what are the things you run into? And what would you be up against if you were in this situation? These are the questions visitors of Project Startblok are confronted with.

The exhibition is designed as a cube, playfully hinting at the container studios in which the residents reside. You literally step in, thereby stepping into the daily life of the residents of Startblok. The creative set up and mix of media allows visitors to be pulled into the world of the youngsters and their issues of concern.

Karijn Kakebeeke
Karijn Kakebeeke is documentary photographer and visual anthropologist who works both in the Netherlands and internationally. Her work often touches on different aspects of migration where she discusses topics such as identity, displacement, ‘fitiing in’ or feeling ‘a sense of belonging’. Her works is published in different (international) newspapers and magazines and has received different awards. 

Picture Bridge Foundation
Picture Bridge Foundation works with photographic (research) methods, in which people actively participate in imagining their own situation. The foundation works at the intersection of the social domain, social sciences and art and wants to create insights and answers where verbal or written expression falls short.

SoZa in The Hague
The Hague also has a location such as Startblok, which is SoZa. This building on the Laan van NOI consists of various parts, one of which is 175 residential units where status holders and young residents of The Hague live together according to the principle of Co_Living on the top three floors of the building, which previously housed the Ministry of Social Affairs.

Atrium City Hall
The Atrium is the meeting place in the City Hall for citizens of The Hague and visitors/tourists to The Hague. Cultural, educational, social and commercial exhibitions and events are organized. The Atrium City Hall foundation has been organizing these various activities in the Atrium since the opening of the City Hall in September 1995. The foundation does this on her own initiative, but external parties can also rent the space for an event or exhibition. In this way Atrium City Hall provides a varied picture of what is happening in The Hague and far beyond.

The exhibition can be visited from 21 March 2022 07:00 – 16 April 2022 17:00 in the Atrium City Hall, Spui 70, The Hague.